Scientific Discovery

“Healthy oceans, healthy planet” – a research selection for #WorldOceansDay

As a contributing partner of World Oceans Day, Elsevier has made a selection of studies freely available

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This albatross died after ingesting plastic objects.  (Photo by Chris Jordan via US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, <a target="_blank" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAlbatross_at_Midway_Atoll_Refuge_(8080507529).jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

The female Eleonora's falcon provides nestlings with plastic waste (a snack wrapper). The boxed images are 2× enlargement from two angles. (Source: Steen et al: <em>Marine Pollution Bulletin</em>, 2016)A scientific paper we published recently features a video of a female Eleonora's falcon feeding her nestlings – with a snack wrapper.

It’s a gripping reminder of how what ends up in the ocean affects us in ways we may not even realize.

Healthy oceans are critical to our survival. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, help feed us, regulate our climate, clean the water we drink and contribute to our medicine supplies, according to World Oceans Day website.

The Ocean Project has championed an annual World Oceans Day since 2002, with official recognition by the United Nations since 2008 confirming June 8 as World Oceans Day.

Since that time, World Oceans Day has continued to grow, with organizations and individuals around the world hosting events promoting prevention of plastic ocean pollution.

The need for healthy oceans touches on many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action and Life Below Water.

The number of publications on plastic and micro-plastic pollution in the oceans has more than doubled over the last 5 years, according to Scopus data, demonstrating the growing importance of research in this field. Figure 1 shows the top 50 keyphrases by relevance. Of all journals indexed in Scopus, Marine Pollution Bulletin has published the most papers and received the highest number of citations for research on (micro)plastic pollution in the ocean since 2011.

Figure 1. The top 50 keyphrases by relevance, based on 690 publications on (micro)plastic pollution in the ocean published from 2011 to 2014.

Our research selection

As the leading publisher of peer-reviewed research in oceanography and marine biology, Elsevier supports World Oceans Day 2016 as a contributing partner.

To mark the occasion, the editors of some our journals have hand-picked a selection of relevant research papers which we have made freely available on ScienceDirect.

Dr. Francois Galgani, co-Editor of the <em>Marine Pollution Bulletin</em>Dr. Francois Galgani, co-Editor of the Marine Pollution Bulletin, selected the paper by Moriarty et al (2016) – “Spatial and temporal  analysis of litter in the Celtic Sea from Groundfish Survey data: Lessons for  monitoring” –  as a large-scale survey that provides a complete analysis, from data to monitoring considerations. “It’s an example of what will have to be done for monitoring sea floor litter,” he wrote.

He said he selected the paper by Song et al (2016) — “A comparison of microscopic and spectroscopic identification methods for analysis of microplastics in environmental samples,” because it demonstrates an important point: During the analysis of microplastics in various environmental samples, pieces of plastic are underestimated while fibers are overestimated.

The paper by Steen et al (2016) — “Plastic mistaken for prey by a colony-breeding Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) in the  Mediterranean Sea, revealed by camera-trap” — features a short video from a camera trap taken in Greece showing the female Eleonora's falcon providing nestlings with plastic waste (a snack wrapper).

The article by Wilcox et al (2016) – “Using expert elicitation to estimate the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife” – focuses on a survey of specialists who estimate the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife. “In the absence of sufficient detailed data … this is both a novel and important approach to the problem,” wrote Marine Policy Editor Dr. Hance Smith.

Research selection: healthy oceans, healthy planet

To mark World Oceans Day 2016, our journal editors have selected a number of novel and interesting research studies with the theme “healthy oceans, healthy planet.” These studies cover the monitoring, policy and impact of litter and pollutants on marine wildlife, fishing grounds and the world’s oceans at large.  They are freely available until May 16, 2017. Read them here.


Elsevier’s Aquatic Science journals

Elsevier is the leading publisher of journals in Oceanography and Marine & Freshwater Biology. Our 24 Impact Factor-ranked journals in these categories published 4,891 articles and attracted 174,105 citations in one year alone, according to the 2014 Journal Citation Reports of Thomson Reuters.  Browse sample issues of all our Aquatic Science journals.

To get involved

What can you do to support this year’s World Oceans Day?

How are you helping?

Melanie Thomson, one of the authors of this story, volunteered at a local pre-school this week to promote World Oceans Day to a group of young scientists (3 and 4 year olds), using resources from Octonauts. If you are doing anything special for World Oceans Day, please tell us about it in the comment section.


Elsevier Connect Contributors

Melanie ThomsonMelanie Thomson is a Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Elsevier with responsibility for a team of Marketing Communication Managers covering Energy, Earth and Environmental Science Journals. Mel has worked in STM journals marketing for 15 years and has earned Chartered Marketer status and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). She is based in Oxford.

Luaine Bandounas, PhDDr. Luaine Bandounas (@LBandounas) is a Publisher at Elsevier, responsible for the Oceanography journal portfolio. She was born in South Africa, where she studied microbiology and medical virology at the University of Pretoria. She then moved to the Netherlands, where she obtained her PhD in Biotechnology from Delft University of Technology. After working for the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS), she joined Elsevier in 2012.

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